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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  March 14, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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daiichi plant have been fully exposed twice now after the reactor lost its cooling capacity and this morning a second hydrogen explosion rocked that plant. the blast sent a massive cloud of smoke into the air and injured 11 workers. officials are keeping a close watch on radiation levels to make sure they stay within limits. police say a thousand bodies have washed up along the coastline bringing the death toll to nearly 3,000. officials now worry it could hit 10,000 or more. search and rescue efforts continue. and we're getting more video of the earthquake and the tsunami as they hit. >> reporter: sirens sound as a wall of waves comes rushing into the streets, crashing over a seawall on to a highwayw, liftig cars and sending them down a torrent of water. entire homes float by. new amateur video shows tokyo's oldest buddhist temple shaking in the earthquake.
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the seventh century temple swayed but was undamaged. a different story for this coastal fishing village. home video of minamisanriku shows a deadly four-story-high wave pushing six miles deep. 10,000 of the 17,000 residents are still missing. but amid the wreckage and tragedy, amazing stories of survival. a 60-year-old man clung to the roof of his home for two days after being washed nine miles out to sea. japanese maritime troops rescued him. >> translator: someone shouts, "there is still another person." >> reporter: in natori crews rescued a person trapped 20 hours in a car. many don't have ways to contact family. "today" show's ann curry received a tweet asking for help finding her sister who is a former english teacher in japan
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who returned to that country the day of the quake. ann found her and helped her reach her sister. >> do you have my sister? >> i have your sister. here she is. >> she is on the phone. are you okay? >> hi. >> are you okay? >> yeah. i'm totally okay. >> let's go right to tokyo now and msnbc's ciz jansing is there live. what's the primary concern now for people across the country? >> reporter: well, i think it's threefold. you have a humanitarian. you have an economic and you have an escalating nuclear crisis. there is nothing simple about what's happening here. and it is affecting not just that northeastern coastal area but really the entire country in a very profound way. now, let's start with the humanitarian crisis. you've been showing those pictures. they are absolutely heartbreaking, devastating. the one town that you showed in miyagi province where as many as a thousand people we heard
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earlier today washed up on the shore that had been bodies carried away in the tsunami. now officials there are saying they may have as many as 2,000 people who have washed up on the shore. the rescue workers who have now turned into essentially people who are helping to collect those bodies, to identify them, to try to return them to their families. but they are running out of space, running out of body bags, running out of coffins. it is a situation almost too horrific to imagine. and yet from all over the world, people have been pouring in to help. these rescue workers, knowing that there are probably no people left to rescue but they're helping to distribute food and water. officials there estimate they may have only 10% of what they need and doing what they can. when you have 500,000 people displaced and now after midnight heading into the fourth very
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cold night of freezing or near freezing temperatures. we have also obviously the economic crisis. i'm seeing it here in tokyo. long lines for gas. a rush on the grocery stores amid fears that because of fuel shortages and because of rolling blackouts they won't be able to get supplies to the stores. and finally, contessa, you mentioned it. a series of problems at a major nuclear plant today. they had done this last ditch effort, what they're calling a hail mary, by putting seawater on the reactor cour oor cores. so far they're not unsuccessful. it's a feeling unlike i have personally experienced perhaps since 9/11 and having such a wide impact throughout this country. contessa? >> chris, it's such a broad story to keep track of and
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you're doing a fantastic job. thank you for setting the scene for us there from tokyo. let's get to the nuclear side of this story. japanese officials say a group of fuel rods was exposed at the fukushima nuclear power plant this morning. nbc news chief science and health correspondent bob bazell had spoken earlier today about the impact. >> the fuel rods inside have been damaged. they melted some. but they haven't gone outside the containment vessel into the environment. there is some radiation going into the environment because of the water that they use to cool down the reactor gives off steam and that steam has -- >> frank von hipple, a nuclear physicist who helped advise the clinton white house and now a professor at princeton university. explain the danger of having fuel rods exposed and whether the 13 mile evacuation zone around this nuclear power plant is enough h. enou-- enough givee current situation.
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>> exposure of the fuel rods results in them starting to melt and release radioactivity into the plant. a complete -- we haven't had a complete meltdown yet. units number one and two, they've managed to refill the reactor with -- using fire engines. now, apparently, the same thing is hatchippening in unit number and the question is whether they can do the same thing again. >> these technicians are trying to use seawater to keep those fuel rods cool. >> right, right. >> what happens is the heat transfers. it evaporates off the water, which turns into that -- bob bazell mentioned it, the steam can carry smaller amounts of less dangerous radiation. is that correct? >> that's right. and the -- because there's no cooling of the building itself, they have to release steam,
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which carries radioactivity with it into the environment. fortunately, it seems to be mostly blowing out to sea. but we just had this report from a carrier off the ocean which i was surprised how high the radiation levels are. my main concern is that the radiation levels inside the plants are getting so high that they -- that it may become impossible for the workers to continue this rescue work. >> so when -- i mean, if you have workers who can't go inside the building now because the radiation levels are too high, how do you manage the threat? >> well, that's the problem. i don't know the details. as i said, on two the units, they are actually replenishing the water in the reactor vessel with fire engines. >> so the international atomic energy agency has this ranking for nuclear disasters. one is the mildest. seven is the worst. >> right. >> they have chernobyl as a seven. they list three mile island a
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five and this weekend japanese officials said fukushima was a four. do you think that's going to escalate given that the fuel rods are exposed? >> it's at least as bad as three mile island. i think it's worse because the containment is less effective. there was no release of radioactivity from the three mile island containment. >> and we know that 17 u.s. military personnel reportedly were exposed to radiation. they are facing just a slight risk but this raises concerns about if you have a nuclear power plant how safe it is when a disaster strikes. >> right. in terms of the question you asked before about the 13 mile evacuation zone, that's enough to prevent people from getting doses which will be lethal in the short term. beyond that area, the concern would be long-term contamination and whether people would have to evacuate -- this is if there
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were a chernobyl-scale release, whether people would be able to live in certain areas that might be so contaminated. and the other concern would be for people -- for the thyroids of children quite far downwind from the radioactive iodine. >> and we know they've been handing out the pills that are the precaution so that thyroids don't absorb that radiation and hopefully they're getting to the people who -- >> but only -- the people who have been evacuated actually, i think they should be available far beyond that area. >> frank, thank you so much for explaining this. so my question today will japan's tragedy influence the future of nuclear power in the united states? i'd like to hear your thoughts on twitter and facebook on an e-mail. we're already seeing -- the battle lines really being drawn in this country over this. we'll talk more about this in the next half hour. search crews are trying to find survivors before their window runs out. take a lack at the picture here of japanese self defense forces. it was an officer who rescued
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this 4-month-old baby girl three days after the earthquake hit in ishinomaki, japan. help is pouring in around the world and margaret geary from the international medical corps and joins us by skype. you have a team right now on the ground in tokyo. how big is it? what's their priority? >> we have a group of doctors and logisticians, a small group in japan in tokyo coordinating with local authorities. our partners on the ground, health officials who can basically help us help them to assess what the needs are and determine how we can help support them. i mean, as we all know, japan has a really strong emergency management capacity and so we really want to try to fill gaps, identify where the needs are and then be able to support. >> and at this point, for
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instance, the doctors who are out, what kind of medical issues would they be seeing most? >> well, i think there are obviously the basic medical necessities that have to be addressed. people need food. they need clean water. they need blankets. there's a concern about exposure. it gets very cold in these areas at night. so the most basic supplies are needed. >> and, margaret, given how widespread the problems are, how does, i mean you have logisticans trying to figure out how to move supplies around. how does that get coordinated with all the supplies that are coming in from countries around the world and distributed to these tiny little villages? >> that's why what we're trying to do is be real strategic before we start going in and really coordinate with local officials so we're not just going in on our own and providing assistance where maybe it's not needed and another area
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is not getting reached at all. so we're really working on identifying those communities that perhaps have not been reached and need the assistance that are most vulnerable. >> margaret acquiguree, thank y. here's how you can help. text the red cross 90999 and that will automatically donate $10 on your phone bill. a paradise lost. more than half a town's population disappeared into the sea. plus democratic lawmakers are back to work in wisconsin. i'll talk with one of them about their game plan for union rights. also passengers tell a different story than the bus driver about what happened before this weekend's deadly bus crash in new york. agearee.
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that 9.0 magnitude quake was so strong it actually shifted the earth's axis. it moved japan physically closer to the united states and wiped out entire villages in japan. minamisanriku is a fishing village about 300,000 miles -- no, that can't be right. i'm going to go back. it's in the northern part of japan, north of tokyo. on friday the population was 17,000. today only 7,000 people are accounted for. they're telling me it's 300 miles north of tokyo. here is alex thompson of our british broadcasting partner channel 4. >> reporter: the offshore beaches were renowned. it's famed for the festivals across the calendar. now one date, friday march the 11th, 2011, the day minamisanriku was obliterated.
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the destruction here, they say, worse than anywhere else in japan. 95% of the town gone. and all by a huge tsunami of 30 or 40 feet. it plowed over the roofs of these four-story tower blocks. after miles of country unaffected by earthquakes, you come to it with immediate effect. past the police checkpoint and the silence strikes you. kites and buzzards quarter the rubble. and yet another body quietly removed with whatever dignity an old blanket can provide. squads of police continue the retrieval process. but hardly anybody here appeared to be looking for survivors. as if this town hasn't suffered enough, it's frankly -- the pictures tell their own story.
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it's pulverized. right now we're told to get out because they say there's another tsunami alert. so as you see, we've got to go. between such alarms, they wander back during the day. some bewildered, othebut all si dwarfed by this. the empires of men upturned in moments. tell me how many people have been killed in this town? >> i'm not sure. about -- according to the news, 10,000 people died out of 17,000 people in this town. >> reporter: 10,000 out of 17,000? >> yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. very sad. >> reporter: killed in this awful collision between the incomprehensibly vast, with the pathetically intimate.
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the sheer force and scale of it is hard to take in. hundreds of thousands of tons of saltwater and debris rushed up this valley, filling it 40 feet deep at 15, 20 miles an hour. look at it. canals reformed, embankments gone. where i'm standing now, look that, it's a mile and a half inland from the harbor and distant sea also obliterated. and when you go this way, you look up the valley. up past the old telecommunications biding around the bend and the debris goes on around that bend for at least another mile. there is no hospital here. that's gone. so serious injuries must be flown out with the japanese defense force. the waiting can be simple, undignified even. but there's a real sense of a community pulling together in all this. and astonishment that the
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outside world should care. at the school, a woman hugged us and said, "i can't believe you have come all the way from england for this." pulling together two behind the school gym delicate work this, the bureaucracy of death, identifying bodies and sending them on for their funerals. this is a small town. they know these people. these nine more bodies, this time from a building just next door to the high school, the old people's home. this man is a restaurateur in town or used to be. as he put it, "there is nothing left now except the concrete base." they're shouting, run, run. and not very politely either. it's another tsunami alert. nothing happened here, though. in fact there were a couple of tidal waves a little further up the coast. and look at the faces in what's left of this town.
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you take such warnings seriously. and should you wonder why so many are missing, presumed dead, when the town had 30 minutes' warning between quake and tsunami, the answer is in the terrain. hemmed into a steep valley north, south and west, the one road out was quickly jammed as the 40-foot wave began coming in. >> that's alex thompson of britain's channel 4 reporting from minamisanriku, japan. real fear over the potential for a nuclear meltdown in japan and renewed battle at home over the safety of the nuclear energy. we'll explain the president's stand. nasa officials investigating a death on the launch pad. what it could mean for the next shuttle launch. wlng time for your business entrepreneur of the week. they were beach volleyball players who turned their passion into a year round activity and created the sandbox in mystic,
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breaking news now from florida. a man working on the shuttle
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"endeavour" has apparently died while working on the shuttle. he was pronounced dead at the scene. all work has been suspended and nasa says it's investigating the worker's death. "endeavour" set to launch april 19th. investigators hope a surveillance camera will help figure out what caused a deadly tour bus crash on a new york city highway. the driver says they were clipped by a truck but surviving passengers say he had already swerved to the right several times before the crash. at least 14 were killed and 20 injured. two sheriff's deputies were shot and killed responding to a break-in at a salvage yard in southwestern virginia. confronted with gunfire investigating the report of a robbery. two other deputies were wounded, one critically. officials say the suspect was killed later in a shoot-out later that day. the floodwaters may have receded but some schools, roads and local mall are still closed. officials say flooding from the storm will be a concern still
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for the next few days and it's not clear when families will be able to return to their homes. in about half an hour four philadelphia priests will face a judge. a huge two-year investigation into that city's diocese named 21 priests of suspected child molesters. preliminary hearings are scheduled for the first four today. lent, the most holy season for catholics is under way and a philadelphia cardinal told parishioners at mass he's sorry for what happened and renewed his commitment to protect children. another death involving a high school basketball player. 16-year-old robert garza came out of a game for a time-out and drink of water and high-fived a teammate. moments later he collapsed on the court. he was playing in the aau tournament with his high school club team in austin, texas this past weekend. paramedics could not revive him and aren't sure. last week 16-year-old wes leonard died after hitting the game-winning shot at a high school basketball game in michigan. americans are urged not to travel to japan right now but
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there are a lot of americans already there. i'll talk with one of them who has quite the story to tell. first it was chile, then new zealand, then japan. why the west coast of the united states could be at risk for the next big quake. as low as 4.75% at plus, get the best deal or we'll pay you $1,000. call lending tree at... today. you've been stuck in the garage, while my sneezing and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong. with zyrtec®, i can love the air®.
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delicious gourmet of gravy. and she agrees. with fancy fest gravy lovers, your cat can enjoy the delicious, satisfying taste of gourmet gravy every day. fancy feast, the best ingredient is love. . welcome back to mississip mississippinbc. i'm contessa brewer. in japan a humanitarian crisis continues while a nuclear disaster looms. fuel rods at the fukushima daiichi plant have been exposed fully twice. three of the reactors are dangerously overheated and authorities are racing to prevent a meltdown. a second explosion rocked the plant in fukushima. 11 workers were hurt. nearly 200,000 have been evacuated from the area around the plant. and the video continues to come in of the quake and the tsunami. devastating entire villages. this is amateur video showing water wiping out minamisanriku
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in northeastern japan. shichigahama is another town. we have the aftermath. >> shich ga hamma, a place where the clocks have stopped. the time the tsunami struck, flattening this fishing village. the wave sliced off roofs, sleft this building on the roof of the car. this is one of the fishing villages along the east coast near the city of sendai which took the real force of the tsunami. i'm standing in what's left of someone's home. just the foundations. the water pick the whole house up and dumped it behind me. all that's left is that pile of broken timber. the seawall offered little protection. the water channeled into an inlet, the force concentrated.
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this 82-year-old man told me the water had burst down an alleyway into his home. we left him picking through a lifetime of belongings. i walked a mile inland. even here the water had scattered cars. look how this car has ended up and you can see how deep the water had been. even this far from the sea. an oil depot alight for two days is left to burn. locals say fire crews can't get access to put it out. shortages are now bringing the city of sendai to a standstill. petrol crews stand for miles. people bring what they can to fill up. supermarkets set up shop in car parks. rationing what they have left. this 72-year-old woman told me her house had been flooded. she had nothing left. this evening smoke hangs over
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the city like a shadow. angus walker, itv news, sendai, japan. we're waiting for press secretary jay carney to speak in fewer than 15 minutes. expected to hear more about what the united states is doing to help japan. earlier today, president obama said he continues to be heartbroken by the images of devastation from the worst-hit areas. >> i've said directly to the prime minister of japan, prime minister kan that the united states will continue to offer any assistance we can as japan recovers from multiple disasters. and we will stand with the people of japan in the difficult days ahead. >> richard wolf is an msnbc contributor and analyst live at the white house. at this point what is the united states doing? >> it's fairly limited to some technical expertise. two search and rescue teams, world class teams that have gone out. that amounts to 150 people, plus
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k-9 assistance and also nuclear experts from the nuclear regulatory commission as well as department of energy expertise looking at those nuclear plants that everyone is fearful about. it's fairly limited. this isn't a matter of throwing money at the problem. obviously, the scale of it means in logistical terms there's only so much even the united states can do. and there are aircraft carriers. one stationed off the coast and another en route where there are some search and rescue missions and assistance going on. so it's fairly limited but obviously the united states through the president says we're ready to commit just as soon as they want it. >> and here at home what we're seeing is because of the increasing threat that these nuclear reactors are releasing radiation into the air and that the problem could get worse -- in fact, the nuclear physicist that i just had on with me this hour is predicting that yes indeed -- he said it's worse than three mile island at this
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point. what we're seeing is the old arguments about nuclear power and the safety of that coming out. a lot of democrats and republicans were in agreement that nuclear energy represented the way forward. they said it's clean, it frees our dependence from foreign oil. let me play what they're saying now. >> i think we've got to kind of quietly put -- quickly put the brakes on until we can absorb what has happened. >> i don't think right after a major environmental catastrophe is a very good time to be making american domestic policy. >> although i guess you could have said the same thing after the bp oil spill in the gulf about whether we should look at domestic policy after an environmental catastrophe. that said, what is the white house stand at this point on nuclear power, its safety and its future here in the united states? >> well, the president, to the dismay of some of his environmental supporters and people in the base of the
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progressives that elected him, he has been advocate of nuclear expansion, of making that one of the key building blocks in terms of future energy sources moving away from a carbon economy. but this is all on hold to all intents and purposes. people don't know the full extent. they don't know if any of these circumstances in japan can be replicated here. of course it was the earthquake and the tsunami together that have caused these particular problems and the experiences, as you recall, in the gulf of mexico is after a period of reflection, of tighter regulatory review, drilling has resumed, permits have been renewed. so it may be just a temporary impact. it's hard to see how energy expansi expansion, whether democrats, republicans or anyone else can come together without nuclear moving forward. so i'd be surprised if this put anything more than a temporary hold on the nuclear expansion that both parties are talking about. >> thank you very much. we've been talking about it online as well, about whether this tragedy in japan could
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derail america's nuclear power future. jerry smith writes the future of nuclear power will always be raised although there is better safeguards since three mile and chernobyl. nate imparato says you'd think this would be a victory for nuclear energy even with an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami, the radiation was largely contained. i'd say that's a huge success. sherry campbell writes as long as we have no idea how to deal with nuclear waste yet alone the danger of live reactors who cares if there's no carbon footprint? a radiation food print is a million times more scary. we need to go in a different direction. you can always e-mail me or find me on twitter and facebook and you can find me on e-mail. the u.s. state department is advising americans not to go to japan, not now. foreigners were lining up at the tokyo airport to get out of that country. they're afraid of a possible nuclear melt down and more aftershocks.
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and dave specter is an american in tokyo and lived there since 1983. tell me, dave, about the aftershocks right now. are you feeling them? >> well, there was a minor one about 15, 20 minutes ago but they're not considerably large at least in tokyo. in the stricken areas i think ult find they're very nervous to begin with about any further damage so they might have felt it much more than in tokyo. >> tell me about the situation. you have sort of a tale of two cities so to speak. you've got tokyo. can you get everything you need right now in tokyo in terms of groceries, clean bottled water, electricity, all that stuff? >> pretty much so. there has been a small degree of hoarding, if you will, although very well mannered. people are buying water and flashlights and items like that. but it's still very stable and comparatively safe in tokyo. as a matter of fact, people feel very responsible for the fact that the real suffering is north
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of tokyo where the earthquake and the tsunami really hit, so nobody would want to step out of bounds and appear to be selfish, if you will. that's why you're seeing a lot of teamwork. there's a lot of brownouts now, scheduled brownouts that has caused some confusion today but it's a very small sacrifice and you're not hearing any real complaining at all. >> and how confident are the people there in japan that their government will be able to manage this crisis? >> well, there is no overseeing unit like fema that you have in the states. but everybody seems to be pretty much on top of things. the only frustration occurring is with the nuclear reactors because it involves a lot of experts, talking heads. a lot of these talking heads are pro nuclear power, although they don't come out and say it. and some of them are anti-nuclear power. and the viewers are somewhat confused over the terminology. it's very difficult to grasp the
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true meaning of what's going on. and then on top of that you have the electrical power company that is perhaps not being as forthcoming with information. the other thing is there is a small delicate issue of responsibility. these small towns that house the -- or host these nuclear reactors are basically servicing electricity to tokyo and bear the burden. in return they do receive a lot of money and incentives. but, nonetheless, the safety issue is all the on their shoulders. you have people in tokyo who benefit from these reactors but the burden is up north. >> dave, i've got to ask you, where were you when the quake hit? >> i was in tokyo in a car and the car was shaking to the extent i've never even imagined before. no one could even think that it was an earthquake. it was just maybe there is a wind or a typhoon. that's what it felt like in the beginning. nobody in tokyo or anyone in japan has felt this kind of an earthquake ever.
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>> dave spector, thank you so much for your time today. appreciate you joining us. the protesters aren't giving up in wisconsin. now their focus is on recalling the governor and other republican lawmakers. i'll talk with one of the state's democrats about that effort. plus, it's been two months since the tucson shooting. why president obama is calling for more gun control laws. blvg host: could switching to geico really save you
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question of if but when. why are some of the nation's most influential conservatives picking a beef with sarah palin? we'll see you in 15 minutes. wisconsin volunteers are working the phones pushing to recall wisconsin lawmakers who supported the governor's union wufting. more than 100,000 protesters converged on capitol square in madison over the weekend to protest for union rights and union supporters promised the fight goes on. wisconsin democratic state senator chris larsen joins me now. good to see you, senator. >> thank you for having me. >> does the threat of layoffs for teachers and others now diminish because the governor got his way? >> well, this was something where governor walker always threw that false choice out there saying if we didn't get rid of workers rights he was going to threaten to lay off these teachers or lay off workers. it was a false choice because at the same time he was giving tax
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breaks to the richest among us. this is something he did when he was county executive. he did it again when it's governor now. but it's a false choice. hopefully he wouldn't follow through on these things and really put these people's lives in turmoil and take these layoffs off the table. but we'll have to see. it's really up to the governor. >> and at this point, there is still work to be done. the budget needs to be passed that includes asking these public employees to increase their contributions to their retirement, to increase their contributions for their health care costs. are you going to be able to go back to the table and work with these senators who you've been in hiding from for more than three weeks? >> well, it will be difficult. we haven't had any conversations since we're back. but these are the very same senators that decided to shut out the legislative process, cut off the phone lines, shut down the legislative debate in the assembly and jam through the bill on wednesday, this after they decided to shut down the capitol --
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>> wait a minute, senator. didn't you shut down the democratic process by fleeing the state? >> no. what we did was we slowed it down. we wanted to make sure that people knew exactly what was in this bill, give people the opportunity to be heard. by shutting off the public hearing, they basically showed that they were not interested in where people stood on this or what the consequences were going to be for people's lives. what we did was a wisconsin filibuster basically slowing down the process so people had a chance to be heard. they continued to speak in volumes never before seen in our state's history and republicans continued to ignore them to the point they locked them out of the capitol. so it was really them that used these legislative techniques to shut out the people. what we did. >> all right. you've answered tht. there may be repercussions for the republicans who have chosen to support governor walker. there may be repercussions for governor walker although not this year because state law says he gets a year in office before he can face a recall effort. how much hope are you pinning on
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the legal challenge to that decision to bust the unions, the court will say you didn't follow it protocol and give it 24 hours of debate? >> i would hope that our courts put the law above the politics. we have a conservative-leaning court in our state. we have a conservative republican attorney general. so it's really up to them to put the law over politics at this point. what they did was highly questionable. but we're going to have to see where that process lays out. really, i mean, it's going to be up to these recall elections where folks are getting out on the streets and recalling those legislators that didn't listen. i think that's going to be one of the best recourses forward. >> and by the way, i remember from my time in wisconsin that recall efforts when well organized and when there's a lot of passion behind them often succeed. senator chris larson, thanks so much for your time. we just learned that the reformed union busting law that governor walker signed into law will take effect on march 25th.
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president obama wants to start a discussion about gun rights. he weighed into the debate in an op-ed in the arizona daily "star" and writes we have a responsibility to put a stop to horrific shootings like the one in tucson last month and that's why our focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that keep irresponsible law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place. he called that the pentagon and now the spokesman for the state department resigned. p.j. crowly resigned after making disparaging remarks about the pentagon to a small seminar at m.i.t. he was talking about the treatment of private first class bradley manning, the man accused of leaking classified documents to wikileaks. crowley called the treatment of manning ridiculous and counter productive. in libya today things aren't looking good for rebel forces. moammar gadhafi is expanding his campaign to clear rebels from the area on the west side of the capital.
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gadhafi's forces attacked with tanks and artillery but opposition forces are digging in. in the east where they still have control of a key oil port, the arab league made a rare plea for united nations' imposed no-fly zone. so far, no decision has been forthcoming. nine of the last ten earthquakes have occurred in a ring of fire and the west coast of the united states is part of that ring. why some experts now predict california is next for a big one. it's where ethel percy andrus found a retired teacher living because she could afford nothing else. ethel couldn't ignore the clear need for health and financial security. and it inspired her to found aarp. for over 50 years, we've continued that work, to help all americans pursue their best life. discover more of what we do, for every generation at discover more of what we do, how are you getting to a happier place? running there? dancing there?
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the disaster in japan has americans thinking about that elusive big one predicted for california. the discovery chant channel represented here. is this because of california's position on the ring of fire as it's called? >> right. it's the most seismically active
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area and we have a lot of major cities positioned on the west coast which is right there in the ring of fire. obviously they're going to have major earthquakes as they did in the san francisco earthquake and -- >> also i know that experts are looking sat this and we have an animation of the an andreas fault that is part of this ring of fire. when you see such seismic activity as the magnitude 8.9 quake in japan or 9.0 now. they're saying magnitude 9.0. new zealand quake 6.3. a lot of damage. chile quake magnitude 8.8. so there's like there's these four corners of the ring of fire and the last corner that hasn't seen a big one in the last year or so is -- >> is us, the united states. and that's what i'm very concerned about and i think that right now it's extremely important that americans begin to prepare for that. i believe it's inevitable. in fact, i just read something
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that i'm not too sure -- i think it's the usgs expects to see a huge quake within the next 30 years. we don't know when but you have to be prepared for it whenever it is. >> i also wanted to point out and this is -- we have another animation that shows the cascadia subduction zone. this is more like portland, oregon, and washington state but they're saying gee logically it much more resembles what we see in japan. if there's that much devastation, tsunamis and stuff, it may be more likely that the big one is portland, oregon. >> it could be. it could be the new madrid fault which is right at the center of the country. we can have these kinds of earthquakes anywhere and the most likely region would of course be along the fire ring. so it's really important that americans recognize that we have this threat and that we also have to take very, very serious precautionary measures and we have to start now and look at what's going on in japan and make it happen. >> couldn't agree more.
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aton, thank you so much. and thank you for watching. see you have back here tomorrow noon eastern, 9 can a.m. if you live out west. we just learned there are more marines and sailors from the united states heading to japan. keep you updated throughout the afternoon. "andrea mitchell reports" up next. norah o'donnell filling in. >> as japan races to avert a nuclear meltdown we talk to a nuclear physicist who advised the clinton administration. we'll talk about the state of america's labor unions with andy stern. it's one a day menopause formula. the only complete multivitamin with soy isoflavones to help address hot flashes and mild mood changes. one a day menopause formula. a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis,
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